SS122 Negotiating Identity: Irish Traditional Music and Dance

This module will examine current and historical performance and transmission of Irish traditional dance, instrumental music and song, with specific reference to the traditions of the West of Ireland.  Utilizing anthropological and cultural history frameworks, students will explore the place of traditional performance arts in Irish culture, and the central roles these traditions play in formation of local, national and transnational identities.

Core elements include an examination of music in the post-famine period in Ireland; music among the Diaspora; revivals of dance and music; sean-nós song; style and the uilleann piping tradition. Conceptual issues of authenticity and tradition will underscore much of the discussions and central questions such as what constitutes traditional performance and the transformative potential of dance and music will be explored and exemplified through a variety of performance platforms.   Students will also have the opportunity to meet with performers and take sean-nós song and dance workshops, in addition to tuition in the Irish tin whistle all of which adds integrated, vocational support to the academic programme (no previous performance experience is required).

Bio Photo

Director, Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, M.A., Ph.D

Méabh Ní Fhuartháin is currently University Fellow (Teaching and Research) in Irish Studies at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. Méabh has published widely in Irish music and is also Popular Music subject editor of the landmark Encyclopedia of music in Ireland (forthcoming UCD Press, 2013). A former IRCHSS doctoral fellow, she is co-editor of Ordinary Irish Life: Music, Sport and Culture (IAP, 2013) and consultant editor on Barry Taylor’s Music in a Breeze of Wind: Traditional Dance Music of West Clare 1870 - 1970 (OaC Press, 2013).  Her research interests include emigration and Irish music; popular music in Ireland; performance studies and Irish music practice; and cultural revivalism.

Verena Commins

Verena Commins M.A., Ph.D


Verena Commins is lecturer in Irish Studies at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. Specialising in Irish music and dance studies, her research interests include exploring concepts of re-traditionalisation, surrogation and authenticity in the appraisal of Irish traditional music contexts in Ireland and beyond. A former Galway Connect Doctoral Research Fellow, she recently completed her PhD entitled Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy: Transmission, performance and commemoration of Irish traditional music, 1973-2012.‌

Tuition and Fees

€2,100 (Euro)

€1,310 - Family Guesthouse (with Irish breakfast – single occupancy)
€1,160 - Family Guesthouse (with Irish breakfast – sharing) 
€875  - Student Residence (without breakfast -single occupancy)

Further Information

Programme Administrator
International Summer School Programme
NUI Galway

Tel: +353 91 495442
Fax: +353 91 525051



Applications open November 2016